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New York by Land and by Sea

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The South Street Seaport Museum’s Pioneer schooner.   

NEW YORK CITY BOAT TOURS

  Tour Routes Guide Price The Lowdown

Circle Line Sightseeing

The longest cruise circles the isle of Manhattan, while the shorter ones stick to the southern half.

Most Popular Tour:
2 Hour-Semicircle Tour—a cruise down the Hudson, around the Battery, then up the East River as far as the U.N. before heading back again.

Duration of Tours:
75 minutes to 3 hours.
Guides point out sites of interest on shore. Adults and children, $19–$38.

Buy online. You must redeem vouchers for tickets at the Circle Line Box Office at Pier 83 near West 42nd Street. The 75-minute tour operates from May through October. All other cruises operate year-round.
The reputation, price, and comprehensiveness (not to mention the life preservers) make this a safe bet.

Gray Line Tours

Trips take place on an amphibious vehicle, which starts and ends on land at Times Square but splashes down in the Hudson River for a fifteen-minute cruise, too.

Most Popular Tour:
"Gateway to America" Downtown Cruise

Duration of Tour:
1-3 hours.
"Captain" (driver) and "First Mate" (tour guide) provide insight into the passing attractions. Adults and children, $9–143.

Buy online. Bring your confirmation and a photo I.D. to the boarding location. This tour only operates April through December.
You won't see much of interest once seaborne, but how often do you get to pretend to be Henry Hudson?

New York Waterway Tours

Offering three 90-minute cruises, including one at twilight and one focusing on history, this semi-circular route sails from one side of midtown to the other.

Most Popular Tour:
Skyline Cruise

Duration of Tours:
90 minutes
Tour guides on all ships offer factoids and commentary on the shoreline attractions. Adults, $28; seniors (62+), $23; children, $17.
Buy online
. Cruises generally operate between June and December.
Like Dr. Ruth, these themed cruises are entertaining, educational, and relatively short.
New York Water Taxi A dozen stops are scattered around midtown, downtown, Brooklyn, and Queens. Hop on and off at any stop with your one- or two-day pass. The one-hour Gateway to America tour explores the harbor in particular.

Most Popular Tour:
Only one harbor cruise is offered.

Duration of Tour:
1 hour for Harbor Cruise; hop-on-hop-off tickets are good for one to two days.
The harbor cruise's narration is prerecorded by Kathleen Turner and National Park Service Rangers. Adults, $26; children, $16.

Reservations are not required; tickets can be bought at any one of a dozen piers. Hop-on-hop-off service operates according to weather, usually from mid-April to mid-October.
Those with a keen interest in military installations on the harbor—or in the deep, throaty voice of Kathleen Turner—should opt for the Gateway tour.


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